2 September 2014
China has replaced the Communist party leader of the coal rich northern province of Shanxi. This move is to clean up rampant corruption in Shanxi. Yuan Chunqing, who will be moved to a Central government department handling the party’s rural policy. Yuan may himself be subject to investigation as well. Yuan will be replaced by Wang Rulin, the top Party official of Jilin province which has earned the reputation of being the least corrupt province in China.

Wang spent his career of 45 years in Jilin, bordering North Korea. He has had no stake in Shanxi’s hierarchy during his career. This will make it easier for him to play his role in the anti-corruption drive in Shanxi.

Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee noted that Shanxi was facing a severe challenge in its anti-corruption campaign and in building a clean government. He said this at the Party’s Central Committee meeting which took the decision to move Yuan Chunqing out of Shanxi.

The anti-corruption drive led by President Xi Jinping has already yielded unprecedented results, leading to investigations of seven top Shanxi officials. Ren Runhou, Shanxi province vice governor, is under investigations for serious violation of the law. Bai Yun, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Shanxi Provincial Committee, is under investigation for suspected corruption.

Xue Lan, a professor at Tsinghua University’s School of Public Policy and Management, said that abundant coal resources and related big investment projects in Shanxi breed serious corruption.

Ling Zhengce, vice president of Shanxi Province’s political consultative conference, came under investigation for corruption. Many believe that the campaign in Shanxi is meant to help smoke out his brother Ling Jihua.

Ling Jihua was an aide to former President Hu Jintao. He was expected to take up a position in the Politburo. His did not do so because of his son’s death in a car accident that led to the death of his son. He was driving a high-end car at the time of the accident.

According to a party insider, Ling appealed to Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang, then in charge of security, to cover up the incident. But Zhou Yongkang himself is now under investigations for serious corruption.